Sunday, July 03, 2016

Janis: Little Girl Blue

Seeing Janis in the Monterrey Pop Festival movie with the wildly unpredictable and fantastic Big Brother and the Holding Company knocked me out in a way that few bands could. Her stage presence and raw, bluesy voice mixed with the anarchistic, psychedelic noise of BB was something that has never been matched - even in the slightest degree. While her later groups - the Kozmic Blues Band and the Full Tilt Boogie Band - didn't speak to me in the way that the raucous, fuzzed-out chaos of the Holding Company did, but I have since learned to really appreciate the soulful blues that she was creating with those combos.

This documentary tells the tale that everyone with a passing knowledge of Joplin is familiar with - her growing up as an outcast in Port Arthur, Texas, her moving to San Francisco in the 60's and hitting big, her drug and alcohol abuse and her eventual tragic end as the result of an overdose (after kicking heroin several times previously). Here we get a lot of footage of interviews with Janis that most of us have seen (particularly heartbreaking is the interview at her high school reunion where she was still rejected by her peers), along with some amazing live shows and interviews with friends, band mates and lovers - male and female.

Always electrifying and always good to be reminded of the immense talent that this woman possessed during the most exciting time for music that the world has ever known. Very sad and very moving.